Publication Date

December 2006

Publication Details

Sanidas, E, The Huddle/Tangle Hypothesis of Regional Integration: The Case of the European Union and Its Enlargement, Working Paper 06-29, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2006.


Regional integration can be a process that resembles that of a huddle/tangle. Some countries might be more prone or keen or able to integrate than others; however there is no guarantee that this process will be smooth through time. On the contrary, integrating countries seem to hover and spin around some main stronger economically countries and form a tangle. Was there a pattern of integration for the various stages of new countries joining the EU? Was the initial momentum created by the founding countries a situation that has never changed during the last 40 years or so? Is there any tendency for sub-integration, especially for some specific groups of countries? This paper focuses on national exports as a tool of evidence that joining the EU is not a solution to long term economic growth unless a strategy is adopted to counteract the inherent tendencies of the huddle/tangle process. Various methods will be used to bring this evidence forward and answer the questions above.